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Harnessing opportunities for deep decarbonisation in India: new report

A new report from Indian government think-tank NITI Aayog and the Rocky Mountain Institute has outlined the enormous opportunity for India to produce renewable hydrogen & ammonia. Ammonia establishes itself early as a key part of this transition: both via the use of renewable hydrogen for fertiliser production, and as a near-term export vector. The report envisions 160 GW of installed electrolysers by 2030, of which nearly 100 GW could be dedicated to producing ammonia. This would make India one of the world’s largest producers of renewable ammonia for export by the end of the decade.

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New roadmap for ammonia imports into Germany

A Fortescue-led Australian-German business coalition has released a roadmap and ten-point action plan to meet ambitious ammonia import targets for Germany. Policy recommendations on the EU and Australian side of the emerging supply chain include financial support to address the first-mover disadvantage. Guidehouse have laid out recommendations of their own in a new report, which finds maritime shipping of ammonia over long distance is the best import option, and that - ideally - hydrogen derivatives should be shipped into Germany in the form required by end users, saving on reconversion costs.

Meanwhile in Copenhagen, EU Commission Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans has backed the shipping industry to make the transition faster than expected, with ammonia to be the “future fuel”.

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Nuclear-powered ammonia production

The potential for nuclear-powered ammonia production is developing fast. Two seperate industrial consortia (Copenhagen Atomics, Alfa Larval & Topsoe, and KBR & Terrestrial Energy) have formed to develop thorium-fueled reactors, and hydrogen & ammonia production is a key part of their plans. Given nuclear electricity dominates France’s energy mix, a grid-connected electrolyser project at Borealis’ fertiliser production plant in Ottmarsheim, France will be one of the first examples of commercial-scale, nuclear-powered ammonia production. And, while capital costs & lead times remain significant, mass production of new technologies and research into flexible power production capabilities are emerging as key to unlocking nuclear-powered ammonia production.

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Ammonia energy funding & acquisitions

SK Innovation has led a successful $46 million capital funding round for New York-based Amogy. The new funds will go towards two ammonia-powered, heavy vehicle demonstration projects: an eighteen-wheel tractor trailer, and an ocean-going cargo ship. H2SITE has closed a successful €12.5 million Series A funding round led by Breakthrough Energy Ventures to expand manufacturing capacity in Spain, and Sweden-based organisation Alfa Laval will acquire RenCat’s patented ammonia reforming technology.

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Air Products and Gunvor to develop new import terminal in Rotterdam

Air Products and Gunvor will jointly develop a renewable ammonia import terminal at Gunvor Petroleum’s existing refinery & distribution facilities in Rotterdam Europoort. The partners expect to be providing hydrogen to the Netherlands in 2026, with the new terminal receiving imports of renewable ammonia from Air Products production projects around the world. The new project is now the third ammonia import terminal under development at the Port of Rotterdam, and comes the same week as Dutch gas network operator Gasunie announced that it had started construction of a national hydrogen distribution network in the Netherlands.

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EU policy developments: CBAM & rules for emissions accounting

MEPs have voted to alter the scope of the upcoming Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) to include hydrogen & ammonia, and for the scheme to cover indirect emissions from manufacture. Meanwhile, two Delegated Acts have established a starting point for rules governing the production of alternative fuels from electrolytic hydrogen, including definitions of “fully renewable” hydrogen and a comprehensive emissions accounting calculation. The European Commission will work with key stakeholders to further clarify and improve the new rules.

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ExxonMobil’s Slagen terminal to become a low-emissions hub

ExxonMobil, Grieg Edge, North Ammonia, and GreenH will explore options to transform Exxon’s existing Slagen terminal into a production & distribution hub for renewable ammonia and hydrogen maritime fuels. The group has identified the potential to produce 200,000 tonnes of electrolytic hydrogen production per year at the site, as well as distributing 100,000 tonnes per year of renewable ammonia. Exxon’s wider plans for low-carbon ammonia also include two large-scale production hubs (one each in the US and the UK).

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Mainspring: ammonia-fed, “linear” power generators

US-based Mainspring Energy has announced successful testing of pure ammonia fuel in its Linear Generator technology. Running on pure (anhydrous) ammonia, the overall system efficiency was 1% higher than conventional gas fuels, and Mainspring indicates that “off-the-shelf” technology available for current gas turbine models can yield NOx emissions that “meet any permitting standard”. Mainspring aims for its product to displace diesel-powered backup generators in a variety of applications.

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Reflections on the last meeting of the Marine Environment Protection Committee: the time is ripe for maritime ammonia

To develop sufficient ammonia supply to meet future maritime fuel demands, we face a herculean task. The recent meeting of the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 78) gives us an insight into the key next steps to address financial & regulatory challenges. For the first time, MEPC 78 introduced the idea of a “Zero by 2050” goal for global shipping: a steep change in ambition. The use of funds from mechanisms like carbon pricing to ensure a fair, just and equitable transition, the necessity of high-impact investment to drive the fuel transition, and the adoption of new LCA guidelines in the next twelve months were also discussed. The drive & ambition shown at MEPC 78 indicates that the time is ripe for maritime ammonia to position itself as the fuel of choice for the global shipping industry.